Staveley-based LPG specialist AvantiGas has entered the mainstream gas market by establishing a new division to supply mains gas to business customers.
AvantiGas is already a major contractor in off-grid fuel and heating but is confident it can make its mark in mains gas as well as LPG. The division’s MD Dean Ewart said the enterprise had a sufficiently strong unique selling proposition to make it attractive to business customers. The new subsidiary is already up and running.
Mr Ewart said that the new entrant was already showing business customers that they can trust them to always give good value and clarity: “Our typical clients are businesses which are looking for cost efficiencies through their energy contracts. We will be offering a high-quality digital service but operating with a low-cost base, so that we can always offer good value with no hidden extras.
“When a customer contract ends and they haven’t negotiated a new one, our customers go on to our standard tariff, which is always competitively priced. Most or possibly all our competitors put the client on a very high default tariff. We won’t be doing that. It’s a matter of establishing trust with our clients so that they know they will always get a fair deal.
“We‘re also more digitally enabled than our competitors – we keep things simple, clear and understandable and customers can do it all online. They can log on, interact and get information. What we’re essentially trying to do is empower the customer to be able to do everything for themselves, at the time they want to do it.
“We had a soft launch in June to test systems, prove our process and perfect our customer journey with our very first customers, and we launched fully on October 30.”
Mr Ewart said that business customers were open to and interested in the proposition of new competitors: “The market has been getting used to us as a new entrant and interested businesses have been testing us to find out what we’re about – do our systems work, do they believe that we’re here to stay? But we’re now seeing more people taking that leap and joining us.”
He also stressed that the company was “in it for the long-term”, and was backed by AvantiGas owners UGI, the American conglomerate which has been continually widening its reach with new acquisitions across Europe since AvantiGas was created in 2011, when UGI bought the former Shell LPG business.
“Our arrival builds the AvantiGas brand and expands its market place. Any business that comes to us can have confidence that we are a well-funded, long-term aspiration company, with the backing of UGI. They are investing properly to make a sustainable business.”
Mr Ewart said his management team had a combined experience in the energy industry of more than 60 years. His own career to date has included positions with British Gas, Gaz de France and the German energy giant RWE.
Neil Murphy, CEO of UGI International (North) said: “We’ve expanded our AvantiGas offering to not only supply rural, off-grid homes and businesses with LPG but also to supply mainstream business markets with natural gas. So any business which has both on and off-grid premises can use AvantiGas as their sole supplier. Most competitors can’t do that, but it’s something we already do successfully in the US and across Europe. We think this gives us another unique advantage.”